Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Stock Report Week 14: Dream Weaver


The beginning of July is my favorite time of the baseball season. With the NHL and NBA done for the season, baseball takes the spotlight.

Canada Day and the Fourth of July holidays let everyone take a day at home with their families to relax and catch a game. For myself, it’s one of the most relaxing weekends of the entire year.

Once the holidays are over, we get the All-Star break. Just like the All-Star games in the other major sports, the actual game has lost some luster due to fan voting and a real lack of stakes. Fortunately, the summer version of the All-Star game is a little more competitive than it’s hockey and basketball contemporaries.

I could get into the politics and the issues with All-Star games in general. Instead, I’m going to make the same choice the people of Springfield made. I’m going to sit back, relax and see the best players in the game sock a few dingers!

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Stock Report

Stock Up

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Just like the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, McCutchen had been completely bombing and disappointing his fans. Mirroring the most recent installment of the Disney classic, McCutchen has somewhat returned to form but isn’t as good as the original. Six weeks ago, I had McCutchen in the Stock Down section after his 2016 decline continued into this season. The face of the Pirates’ franchise has made adjustments and has turned things around in a huge way.

After slashing .206/.280/.406 in May, Cutch turned back the clock to slash .411/.505/..689 in June. His RBI  and run totals in June nearly doubled his season total. McCutchen finally fixed his plate discipline, walking 15.6% of the time while striking out in just 11% of his at-bats. McCutchen is not going going to continue hitting at this pace, but he’s showing flashes of his MVP caliber self. He’s made much better contact with the ball, significantly decreasing his GB% and hitting more line drives.

McCutchen has regained the third spot in the Pirates lineup, after being moved down to sixth during his slump. Hitting in the heart of the lineup will afford him plenty of opportunities. He’s still not stealing bases, but owners will take what they can get. Cutch added to his power number on Tuesday, smacking two home runs against the Phillies. McCutchen owners looking to trade him should hold as it looks like the former MVP has turned a corner.

Scooter Gennett, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

Gennett’s historic four home run game has sparked a month long tear for the Reds’ second baseman. Since his 10 RBI game at the beginning of June, Genett has found his power stroke, hitting four more home runs the rest of June. Gennett finished June with 24 RBI and 19 runs scored. Even if you remove the big games, his production was much improved from May.

Despite the increase in counting stats, Gennett maintained his .300 batting average while posting a ridiculous .674 SLG. Gennett spent the early part of the season hitting ninth in the order, but has spent a lot of time hitting second with Zack Cozart on the DL. Through 16 games in the second spot, Gennett has hit .297 with five HR, 12 RBI and 15 runs scored.

Gennett is on pace to smash his career best HR total (14) with more than half the season to go. His career best FB% and Hard% support the notion that he is truly breaking out. He remains under 50% owned, so owners who need help at second base should check their wires to see if he is still available. With Cozart off the DL, Gennett will likely get bumped down in the lineup, but he’s still hitting well enough to produce solid numbers for owners who need a middle infield option. Owners on the fence should keep an eye on his playing time to see how the situation develops.

Luke Weaver, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have called up Weaver, one of their top pitching prospects, from Triple-A. Weaver auditioned for the Cardinals last season, posting a less than impressive 5.70 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. Weaver did show flashes of brilliance, striking out 27% of the batters he faced while walking under three batters per nine innings. His BABIP (.386) and LOB% (61.8) showed plenty of room for improvement, which was supported by his 3.34 xFIP.

After a sparkling run in Triple-A (1.93 ERA, 0.96 WHIP), Weaver has been called up to provide relief for the Cardinals pitching staff. For the first little while, that’s exactly what he will be, as Weaver will start his second stint in St. Louis out of the bullpen. For Fantasy purposes, Weaver will provide plenty of strikeouts and good ratios for owners looking for support in that area.

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At the moment, there is no clear path to the Cardinals rotation. The most obvious path is an injury to a starter, but everyone is healthy right now. If the Cardinals become sellers, they could move Lance Lynn, opening up a spot. In any case, Weaver will be first in line should a rotation spot open up. When he does join the rotation, he will be a high upside option worth using in what’s been a barren pitching landscape.

Stock Down

Johnny Cueto, SP, San Francisco Giants

I was down on Cueto last season and he proved me wrong. This season I was a little more bullish on Cueto, but of course, he had to go and prove me wrong again. He hasn’t been blown up many times but he’s been consistently mediocre all season long. He currently holds a 4.26 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, his worst marks since 2009.

He’s had a gopher ball program all season long, giving up a career-high in home runs per nine innings (1.53). His strikeout rate has remained consistent with his career numbers but his walk rate has also ballooned to the highest it’s been since 2009. There is no solace in his advanced stats, as his FIP and xFIP are both above 4.00.

No bad luck for Cueto, as he’s simply been very hittable this season. Batters have been getting under Cueto’s pitches, as his GB% has decreased by 10% this season. Not surprisingly, he’s giving up a ton of hard contact (35.4%), leading to a spike in home runs. Not much in Cueto’s profile points to improvement this season. His track record makes it tough to outright drop him, but owners should consider selling low on a struggling pitcher.

Jose Peraza, 2B/SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds

Peraza has been bad all season long and may be in danger of losing his starting job. The Reds have activated Zack Cozart and there is suddenly a logjam up the middle. While Gennett was the player who stood to lose the most playing time, Peraza may have played himself out of the lineup, hitting .232 with just five runs scored in June. Owners who roster Peraza know that he is a one-dimensional player. However, his speed completely disappeared last month as he stole just one base in June.

He has been a one-category player, and his contributions have not been worth the negative value in the other four categories. Over the last month, Gennett has outplayed Peraza in nearly every way and deserves to start more often than not. However, the Reds’ staff may choose to give Peraza experience at the keystone.

Whether he sticks in the lineup or not is moot, as he has not been roster worthy for over a month. If he continues to play, he will be a drag on his owners average and counting stats while providing a moderate boost in speed. The best case scenario is for him to lose his job outright, so owners won’t have to fret over the decision to drop him.

Matt Bush, RP, Texas Rangers

Bush was removed from the closer role this weekend, after blowing his fifth save of the season. Blowing the lead against the White Sox in spectacular fashion (0.1 IP, 3 ER) was the final straw for Jeff Bannister. Bush was a must add option as the closer for a team that earned Dyson 38 saves last season. However, Bush hasn’t been able to take advantage of the opportunity, losing his job to the committee of Keone Kela and Jose Leclerc.

Bush’s biggest problem has been the long-ball. After giving up just 0.58 HR/9 last season, Bush has surrendered 1.50 HR/9 this season. His BABIP has skyrocketed to .349, as has his walk rate. Opposing batters have been making much harder and more frequent contact against Bush. His Soft% has decreased by 6% while his Hard% has increased by over 6% as well. Despite no changes in his velocity, batters have been making contact against Bush much more frequently.

Kela was next in line but was placed on the DL Monday with a shoulder issue. With Leclerc as the defacto closer, Bush will have the opportunity to earn his job back before Kela returns. However, he will need to be nearly perfect to earn the job back so quickly.

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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